Smriti Warrier Remembers Srila Prabhupada

Following Srila Prabhupada

Interview DVD 03

Smriti: My name is Smriti Warrier, and I lived on Hare Krishna Land, B Building, on the ground floor. My parents were Mr. and Mrs. Warrier that helped a lot with the temple, the devotees, and did a lot of seva, and I basically grew up on Hare Krishna Land. I was there before the devotees came. So when they first came, I was 6, 7 years old. Of course, we’d never seen foreigners so much before. So then they would come and we would stare at them. They were like celebrities. We’d just sit there, every move they made we were watching them. Of course, at that time, we used to tease and chant. We would chant, but we would teasingly chant Hare Krishna or say “Haribol.” As time went on, we started to like them. They would be so nice to us, so we would always go up and anything they wanted we would run and get it for them. When they were living on the rooftop, they would bathe up there. I remember we used to see these soapy white lathered heads – Gargamuni, Brahmananda, Madhudvisa. This must be in Acharya’s garden that he’s getting massage because he came out of there and went right into the house. Later on they started a Gurukula, which we attended. That was the only Gurukula we really enjoyed going to, and the three of them did it. It was so much fun. We used to do all kinds of things – little projects, learning slokas, chanting, putting on dances when Prabhupada came.

Whenever he was in Bombay, every morning I would take his breakfast for him and he liked wadas. Whenever he came into town, he would send his servant to tell Mrs. Warrier that he was here; and the next morning, idlis or wadas had to be given. I used to take it in and I used to wait around, waiting for Prabhupada to give me a sweet back in return. Sometimes he would tease me and give me a piece of idli back or a piece of wada, and I would say, “No, I want the sweet on your plate,” and wait there till he gave it to me. At times he would tease me so much that he would eat all his prasadam and I would still be waiting for my sweet, I would never leave without it. And then he would go to put the last one in his mouth, then he would just hand it to me and let me go. He would laugh. He knew he was teasing me with it, especially when he would pick up the idli and he would give it to me with this amused look in his eye like “Are you going to take it?” I was stubborn, I wanted that sweet, that was it. I’d go in the evening too for the class just to get the sweet, the pera or the burfi that they were giving out. Sometimes he would be kind enough to tell Visala, “Give her her sweet so she can go and play,” or sometimes I would have to sit through the whole class and then I would get my sweet. I remember there were times when his servants weren’t around and I would get to pick up his shoes and help him slip his feet into it. Every evening my mother would make a garland for the lecture, and I was thinking about it. When I was that little, I used to feel embarrassed because all these devotees would come with these beautiful thick nice garlands. They would buy the flowers and make these beautiful garlands, and I got this thin little thing that my mom had made with the champa flowers or the mogra from the garden. And the more I thought about it, it was actually true – Prabhupada would take the big heavy ones off and he would leave the thin ones on, and he’d be smelling them. So actually he did like that offering. In some of the pictures you’ll see of Bombay, you see he’s got that champa garland around his neck, he hasn’t taken that one off.

Interview DVD 06

Smriti: This is the gurukula kids. All of us came up, and we had made these garlands and we all offered it to Prabhupada. It was such a festival. We were all excited, at the same time very anxious. At that time, the temple was small so it was more like a family. So everyone knew each other and everyone…it was one big family. We were there every evening. Daddy was there like clockwork. He used to go to mangal aratik and guru-puja, and then he’d go to work. And the evening aratik, he would be there too. We had pictures at first on the altar and then Navayogendra Swami, he had given us this Chaturbhuj Krishna. So we used to go ahead and have aratiks, and every day evening aratik was my job. I was the pujari at home. That was one thing Daddy had started at home was to have the evening aratik. Six o’clock I had to come back in, take a shower, by seven I had to do the aratik. Before he passed away actually, the night before he got really sick and he had to go to the hospital he said, “No, until Baby finishes the aratik I’m not going.” So then I came, I did the aratik and he was breathing real heavy, he was really, really sick. Then after the aratik he left for the hospital, and the next morning at ten o’clock he passed away. That was the last I saw my dad was after I did the aratik, he gave me a big hug before he went and that was it. If it wasn’t for Prabhupada, we wouldn’t be doing that aratik. He taught everything we have, everything we know. That’s my dad and mom, and that’s Mr. Menon there. That’s my dad.

Interview DVD 10

Smriti: I didn’t get chastised, I didn’t get reprimanded for anything. He was always very kind to me. I think that’s what helped me love him more and do things more. And the time that he got sick and he came to Bombay, they wouldn’t let you go into his quarters. I was not used to that. I was used to walk in any time. I remember Tamal Krishna came in and he looked at me and I said, “They won’t let me go in and see Prabhupada.” Then he said, “He’s taking rest.” I said, “But I want to see him. He’s been here for so many days, I haven’t been able to see him.” So then he said, “You be very quiet, just go in and come out.” I remember going in there and Prabhupada was sleeping, and I just stood there for a few moments. I remember just standing there and looking at him. He was just lying there, and you didn’t see him feeling the pain. He was telling us he was very sick and his stomach hurt, but you didn’t see that. You saw him very calm and peaceful. And I just grabbed his feet and I ran. I don’t know if I woke him up or not, but I remember that I just grabbed his feet and I ran out. And that was the last time I saw Prabhupada.